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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Better Living

I'm focused on better living these days. I'm focused on this at home, at school, and with regard to the broader world we live in. How do we move towards betterment in all that we do?

Care, Compassion, and Kindness
Way back I was a bit cynical about these words. I saw them as superficial and meaningless in many ways. Yet with years of study and reflection, I recognize the strength and power these words and actions hold--truly if we care with compassion and kindness, we contribute to betterment in our own lives and the lives of others. Recently I witnessed the great power of these words once again, and was once again both humbled and elevated by the strength of these actions. We can disagree, and we can do that with care, compassion, and kindness.

Stepping into Another's Shoes: Empathy
We have to make the time to step back and reflect on what others around us are experiencing. This is so necessary as we face new immigration policies. When it comes to any group of people, typically "one-size-fits-all," uniform decisions aren't good. This is so true for immigration since there's so much history, personal experience, and contextual matters that play a role in this situation. We have to be highly sensitive as a people with regard to our immigrant neighbors, friends, and community members--what we do today in this regard will affect the lives of many well into the future. Quick, one-shot policy or decisions, in this regard, can only be harmful.

Building Better
Focus on how we can improve our homes, yards, parks, playgrounds, schools, community buildings, sidewalks, and other public spaces is essential. When we live in inspiring, beautiful communities, we live with greater confidence, happiness, and grace. How can we work together to make improvements to our public/private spaces, and perhaps, we can use this betterment to create more jobs too.

Simplicity and Sharing
Most of us probably need about one tenth of the material objects we own. The less things we have to take care of, the more time we have for shared endeavor and deeper commitments. Looking at how we can share our wealth of objects, time, and talent is one way to move towards betterment. If everyone reaches out with their best skills, talents, property, and wealth--more will do well in our world.

Support
Who can we support at home, in school, and beyond to better our lives and world. There are so many places that we can invest our time to better our situations and the situations of others. We need to think carefully about this and make sure we are investing in deep, meaningful work rather than superficial efforts. It's best if we think with others in this regard.

Commitment
We can all commit to contribution--giving time and energy towards betterment for ourselves and others. As I think about this, I'm hoping to do the following:
  • Continue to support those I love in obtaining their positive dreams, goals, and pursuits in life. 
  • Continuing to work with others in the school community to maintain and develop the best possible schools--places where children are welcome, cared for, and learn with strength, skill, knowledge, creativity, and confidence.
  • Continuing to look for ways to contribute to my community with regard to betterment. This is probably the most challenging call since there is a lot to learn about with respect to how to get involved, contribute, and interact with the complex communities we live in. 
When I listen to the news, hear the stories of friends and neighbors, dream, and think, I see tremendous potential for betterment. I'm committed to betterment because I believe that we have the opportunity as a people to forward the good life for all, and there is great joy in that.